Canberra’s recycling plant in Hume shut down over concerns for worker safety

Updated January 14, 2019 12:43:02

Canberra’s recycling facility has been shut down after numerous threats to worker safety were identified at the site in Hume.

Key points:

  • Worksafe ACT says operational failures over Christmas allowed piles of flammable material to mount up
  • He says the facility is likely to be closed until late in the week
  • Numerous safety issues at the centre are putting workers at risk

The Materials Recovery Facility in Hume was issued several prohibition notices by Worksafe ACT on Thursday evening, after an inspection found electrical issues, problems with fuel and gas supply, missing fire extinguishers and piles of rubble blocking safety exits.

Safety rails were also missing around “dangerous” equipment like conveyor belts.

Work safety commissioner Greg Jones said it was fortunate the issues were spotted before a worker was seriously injured or killed.

“It is really poor management in terms of exposing workers to those sort of risks,” Mr Jones said.

“We are making sure that all of those issues are fixed, and they must be done appropriately to our satisfaction before they can reopen.”

Mr Jones said the plant would likely remain closed until at least late in the week.

He said there had “clearly” been operational failures over the Christmas period that allowed piles of flammable material to mount up within the building.

“Obviously some major remedial work needs to be done,” he said.

It is unclear what impact the shutdown will have will have on waste services.

City Services Minister Chris Steel has been contacted for comment.

As recently as 2017, the plant processed 250 tonnes of Canberra waste daily.

Topics: workplace, work, states-and-territories, recycling-and-waste-management, occupational-health-and-safety, hume-2620, canberra-2600, act

First posted January 14, 2019 12:30:36

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